Skip to content

finally a beginning of border reopening!

Ho Chi Minh City soon accessible to all… (Photo: Luc Citrinot)

In the battle around the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems that the Omicron variant no longer scares theAsia Pacific. Weariness after two years of complete closure which have decimated the economies of countries very dependent on tourism, realism in the face of a pandemic which is gradually becoming endemic due to herd immunity. And then, probably, a public opinion that is getting more and more irritated at being deprived of freedoms…

Singapore, Cambodia, India and Thailand lead by example

After Singapore and its travel corridors since October, Cambodia and India were among the very first countries in Asia to fully reopen their borders without quarantine. And this since last November.

The Thailandso dependent on tourism, was characterized by waltzes-hesitations, changing these rules three times. But the latest change this time seems to be solid. The kingdom has decided to reactivate its “Test & Go” scheme on February 1. Travelers should therefore complete a day of hotel quarantine upon arrival pending a negative PCR test performed on site. Then perform a second test 5 days later under the same conditions. Rules that will probably become even lighter in the face of the reopening of other countries.

Upcoming openings in the Philippines and Vietnam

On February 10, the Philippines, for example, have decided to reopen their borders to around fifty countries.. Whose Belgium, France and Switzerland. According to the new criteria put in place by the health authorities, travelers from these countries can come to the Philippines for 30 days. Provided you are fully vaccinated, perform a PCR test 48 hours before departure, have a return ticket and proof of health insurance up to $35,000. No quarantine is imposed.

Vietnam will also loosen its grip on international travelers. In a recent speech, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced that the country was going to reopen in its entirety to foreign visitors, ideally at the end of March, at worst at the end of April. Progress in the campaign for a third dose of Covid vaccine in the general population will be decisive.

According to local media reports, visitors with a full vaccination schedule will be able to enter the country. They must have carried out a PCR test less than 72 hours before arrival and be in possession of medical insurance up to 50,000 US$.

Indonesia lags behind

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the greatest resistance comes from Indonesia. After being very reluctant to open a week ago, Malaysia experienced a dramatic turn of events on Tuesday February 8. The Malaysian government has announced that it will open the country to all vaccinated travelers on March 1. Two negative tests will be required before departure and upon arrival in the country. Malaysia will thus officially end a two-year international isolation.

As for theIndonesia, it has certainly reopened since February 4 the island of Bali to all travelers. But however, it imposes a five-day quarantine on those fully vaccinated and requires medical coverage of $100,000. Conditions which therefore prove to be unattractive. The government has even justprohibit passengers arriving from overseas from landing in Jakarta. The measure is temporary to deal with a spike in cases due to the omicron variant.

Australia opens at the end of February, except Perth… (Photo: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Perth (AU), Elizabeth Quay — 2019 — 0259” / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Australian flip-flop

After insisting for months that Australia had no chance of reopening its borders before the second half of 2022, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a remarkable about-face. He announced on February 7 the total opening of Australia after two years of hermetic isolation.

After a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, Australia can now boast of having 80% of its population vaccinated. Also the government recognizes that pressure on the Australian health system is now unlikely. Also, from February 21, duly vaccinated travelers will be able to come to the country.. With the exception, however, of the State of Western Australia. The local government in Perth believes that the pandemic is still not under control. Western Australia will therefore remain barricaded, even prohibiting travel to the rest of Australia except for emergencies…

The New Zealand for its part adopts a more cautious attitude. The government has clearly indicated that it will open its borders again. But the process will take six months with an opening to all foreign travelers in October. However, it is expected that as early as July (no specific date yet), visitors from visa-exempt countries will be able to enter New Zealand. Including French tourists…

Downtown Seoul in 2018 (Photo: Luc Citrinot)

Northeast Asia remains hermetic

Northeast Asia, for its part, continues to resist. Nor the Koreaneither Taiwan do not currently intend to simplify their protocol for entering the country. About the Chinathe opening of borders is more a political calculation aimed at reducing external influences on Chinese society than purely health considerations.

the Japan is also plagued by doubts and hesitations. The country evokes a possible reopening to travelers coming for essential or urgent reasons during the month of March. But without much conviction… There too, more than the health situation, the opening of borders is dependent on the Japanese psyche, in a strange mixture of nationalism and terror of viruses.

The traveler can certainly visit this part of Asia. But Il is exposed to complicated procedures and painful quarantines which can reach several weeks in total isolation. In most cases, the game is probably not worth the candle.

(Updated 08/02/22)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.